Simple ways to make memories with your family all year long
It’s that time of year again when we’re all extra motivated to set new year’s resolutions! Forget the usual commitment to hit the gym 20 times per week or eat only green things.
I’m going to help you set simple five photo goals for 2020 that can easily become family traditions! These resolutions are way more fun (and easier to stick with) than tons of exercising or avoiding chocolate and queso!
My own family photos from this year are the examples I’m using below. Thanks to Ashworth Imagery for these unforgettable memories!
1. Family photo sessions at least once per year
If you’ve ever scheduled a family photo session, you know there is a bit of stress that comes along with having lovely images of your family!
I may be a photographer, but I’m not immune to the chaos of my own family portrait sessions. This year was no different. I was anxious to get good photos because I never got around to scheduling pictures in 2018.
We arrived at one of my favorite local spots to meet Leah Ashworth, another Houston-based photographer whose work is so pretty. She’s very calm and patient, no matter how insane things got with my girls running around. I photographed Leah’s newborn session in the spring of this year and fortunately she had availability for a fall family session for us.
Within an hour, Leah had a camera full of images she turned into a lovely photo gallery that I will treasure forever. When I look through these photos now, I don’t see the stress of keeping the girls out of a muddy puddle before our session began. I don’t think about bribing them with suckers if they would just give their best smiles for one hour. Instead of feeling frustrated at having to pull our three-year-old back from the pond just in time, the memory just makes me smile now.
So I completely understand that family photo sessions can feel overwhelming; they are for me too when I’m with my own kids. But you’ll be so thankful for those images as soon they’re in your inbox!
Even if you don’t schedule a professional session more than once per year, it’s super simple to set the timer on your phone and snap an impromptu family photo at home on the couch. Everyone doesn’t have to look magazine worthy – it’s about the memories, anyway.
2. Take photos with your spouse and your kids one-on-one
When I shoot maternity and newborn photography sessions, many of my clients haven’t had professional photos taken with their spouse since their weddings! As parents, we get so caught up in getting pictures of our kids that sometimes we overlook having couples photos taken.
Make it a point to change that for 2020. Whether you hand your camera or phone off to a family member or snap a quick selfie, get photos of you and your hubby to remember these crazy days of parenting littles.
Grab photos of you with your kids individually, too. They’ll love the one-on-one snuggles with you.
3. Learn to love the in-between moments
Gone are the days of stiffly posed fancy portraits hanging over the fireplace of families with fake, forced smiles. Embrace the little moments when the connection and love between family members is visible. In the photo on the right, my husband and I were joking around as we waited for Leah to give us directions for this series of photos. On the left, my daughter is laughing at something going on just outside of the lens.
These are the priceless, authentic moments that make up our daily lives. If you were to take a peek at a normal day for us, you’d probably see my husband and I grinning just like that about a lame joke. You’d definitely see Annabelle giggling like this at her sisters.
It’s often in these shots that you see personalities shine – real smiles and laughter, as well as genuine happiness. Let go of the desire for a perfectly posed shot for your living room and embrace a more lifestyle look!
4. Get in the shot, mama
I’m super guilty of not getting in photos with my kids or my hubby. I don’t often like how I look in photos and it’s about them anyway, right?
I totally understand that we all have aspects of ourselves we don’t love. So many moms have told me they put off photos for a year or two because they wanted to lose weight to feel better about themselves. While that’s completely relatable, in those one or two years, their kids grew up a little more each day. Instead of freezing time with the people they love the most, the days just slipped away.
We don’t get these days back with our husbands or our children. If there are parts of you that you normally don’t like in photos, tell your photographer! We’ve got tons of wardrobe advice, posing tricks and other ways of making you look and feel your absolute best.
In fact, I ask about body image sensitivities in all of my client questionnaires because I know how common these feelings are for women. If you don’t like your double chin that only shows in photos, we can shoot from above or help you elongate your neck to minimize it. Not a fan of your arms? Make sure you wear sleeves that cover them, and I’ll help you position them away from your body in your photos.
5. Decorate your walls with happiness – print your photos!
Portraits will always be the most meaningful artwork you own. That’s why, if you’re anything like me, you’ve got thousands of photos saved on your phone.
Why not put the most beautiful moments on your walls? The images of your newborn snuggled with your toddler will mean more to you than anything you could pick up at Hobby Lobby. In fact, the photo above is already displayed in our house. It’s literally the most perfect depiction of life with three silly, sweet girls who keep us on our toes.
Plus, did you know studies show that it boosts a child’s self-esteem when they see their own family photos hanging up around the house? To you, it could be just another image on the wall, but think about what it represents: home, a place where everyone belongs, being a part of something bigger than yourself.
Your kids may not be able to put those feelings into words, but they’ll love seeing happy pictures of themselves with mama and daddy all over your home!
2020 is the year for photo traditions!
This year I’m committed to taking more photos with my kids and not just of them.
I’m going to make my hubby smile for selfies so that we have photos of just us.
While we’ve already got family pictures hanging up all over the place, I’m making a mental note to refresh them more than just once per year.
After all, these are the moments we’ll look back on in 20, 30, 50 years and be thankful for every moment we had with our husbands and kiddos.